Death Drive and the Heroic Ego in '1917'

Peter McCormack


This study takes a psychoanalytic approach in the assessment of the hero, in Sam Mendes film 1917 (2019) conceptualised initially from the perspective of the Freudian Death Drive (1920) and then in the second half of this essay, Julia Kristeva’s notion of the abject (1982). I show how both theoretical ideas impact and inform the concept of identity through the ego. I explain how the main character in the film, presents a changing hero that shifts through three ego states, the wounded ego state, then the liminal ego state explored alongside the abject and the final performing ego state explored with Judith Butler's notion of gender performance (1988,1990).


hero, war, Death Drive, abject, Kristeva

Full Text:



All content © Free Associations.